Despite making me happy last week–and, really, teasing me–by sweeping the Cubs, the Pirates are indeed pretty bad.
It pains me to say that, having grown up in the town where they spring train, Bradenton, FL, and thus having been a life-long fan of the Bucs.
It really pains me to say that, since before the season started, I actually thought that the organization had made some good changes, and that maybe they were moving in the right direction.
However, facts are facts, and while everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, no one is entitled to his or her own facts.
And the facts state that despite the fact the Pirates’ record is better than the Astros, that it’s simply been sheer, dumb luck that has been keeping them out of the cellar.
Look, the Pirates’ pitching is bad. They are giving up 6.24 runs per game, worst in the Majors. Yes, there were a few games against Milwaukee that really inflated their runs allowed totals, but they have been repeatedly blown out by various teams–the D-Backs, the Dodges, the Reds, etc.–all season. Thus, their Run Differential (Runs Scored – Runs Allowed) is a Major League worst -97, and they are 39 runs worse than the next worst team.
They are 6-3 in one-run games, but that actually is cause for greater concern, since this means they are actually getting lucky in the close games while also being blown out in bunches of other games. As this piece in the Hardball Times points out, run differential is the primary driver of a team’s won-loss record, and, to really make me sad, the 2003 Tigers, one of the worst teams of all time, had a winning record in one-run ballgames.
Yikes! E-gads! ‘Zounds! And whatever other imprecations you might wish to utter/yelp.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the Pirates “offense” completely deserted them, as two Reds’ starters pitched complete game shutouts against them, with Johnny Cueto twirling a “one hit gem” on Tuesday, and Homer Bailey surrendering only four hits on Wednesday.
I’m just wondering who in Pittsburgh will have a meltdown comparable to the one the Indians broadcaster had last week.